Written by Holly Madden, LeadHer Local Director. Connect with Holly on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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Dear Mentor,

It has been awhile since we sat down face to face, but it’s important that you know that the investment you made in my life impacts me still today. I remember when we first met, you shared with me that you were far from qualified from mentoring me. Little did you know that that very statement made me sure that I had asked the right person.

Your honesty made you real. I needed authenticity more than I needed expertise.

When you think I needed answers, I really just needed someone to listen.

You made me feel like I was seen and cared about. You made me feel like I mattered.

But it wasn’t just over coffee that your impact touched my life, I watched you- the way you talked about your husband, worried about your children, tried to put God first, and responded in prayer to the evilness in the world. I watched the way you interacted with the barista, the homeless man outside and the bank operator on the phone that got your transaction wrong. I appreciated your honesty when life was hard, and when you pressed on despite the struggle, that inspired me.

When I talked for 45 minutes straight, it’s because I knew I could trust you. I talked because I had something to say and you showed me that my something had value.  You may not have said much some days, but you always said just enough.

You taught me that it is okay to sometimes not be okay, and you modeled for me that it’s okay to say, “I don’t know” when there is no answer. 

Our life stories could not have been more different, but the emotions we experienced in our circumstances could not have been any more the same. When you told me your story, I saw not your mistakes but that life can be restored even after mistakes are made. I learned that what holds us back in life is not circumstances but our surrender to our circumstances, and that it is possible to keep moving forward no matter what obstacle, heartbreak or fear comes our way. I learned that my dreams are never too big or too small for God to use. You showed me that ministry is not a title but an action.

I learned I could make a difference in this world when you made a difference in my life.

What qualified you to mentor me was not a degree, formal training, or a mistake-free life, what qualified you was that you cared enough about me to give me your time, tell me your story and speak truth, hope, and love into my soul.

You began a legacy in me that I hope to honor by mentoring someone else in my life.